Soo Locks closing to marine traffic January 15th

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on Monday, January 15th at 11:59 p.m. the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will close to all marine traffic as long as all commercial traffic has stopped. The locks will be closed until March 25th. This closure is done in order to perform seasonal maintenance.

“Every year, the Corps of Engineers uses the non-navigation winter period to perform maintenance and keep the Soo Locks operating. The Detroit District team works long hours in extreme conditions to complete a significant amount of maintenance during this annual closure period. The work they perform is unique, especially given the harsh northern Michigan winter conditions they work in.”

Maintenance Branch Chief Nicholas Pettit

The operating season is based on the practicality of vessels operating during the lake’s typical ice conditions.

There will be a temporary panel bridge across the Poe Lock which will provide users with the ability to move materials and equipment to certain job sites during the closure.

“With the winter temperatures being more mild than previous years, the Soo Operations team has been proactively prepping for the non-navigation season. Every year weather poses challenges and adds intensity to maintenance, the team is highly skilled and equipped to safely execute critical projects that allow for continued operational reliability during the navigation season,”

LeighAnn Ryckeghem Soo Locks Operations Manager

The Soo Locks currently have two operating locks: the Poe Lock, scheduled to reopen March 25, and the MacArthur Lock, scheduled to reopen April 24.

More than 4,500 vessels, carrying up to 80 million tons of cargo, maneuver through the locks annually. Iron ore, coal, wheat and limestone are among the most frequently carried commodities. Opened in 1969, the Poe Lock is 1,200 feet long. The MacArthur Lock was opened in 1943 and is 800 feet long.

Visit the Detroit District Facebook page for more information on the locks and updates on the maintenance work.